Black Stars midfielder Thomas Teye Partey has become a key cog in the Atletico Madrid side under Argentine coach Diego Simeone.
The 27-year-old has made impressive progress since he graduated from Real Mallorca youth team in 2013.
Here are five interesting facts about the player.
1. He left Ghana without most of his family knowing
When the time came for Thomas to make the move from Ghana to Spain, he left very suddenly. His father was a football coach and, together with Thomas’ agent, had been planning his exit from Ghanaian second division side Tema Youth. One day Partey was driven to the Ghanaian capital of Accra, handed his passport, and told he’d be leaving there and then. The rest of his family found out once Thomas was already in Spain when he signed for Atlético de Madrid!
2. Michael Essien was his idol
When Thomas Partey started his journey to professional football, the player he looked up to was Michael Essien. Thomas has spoken about the admiration he had for his fellow Ghanaian, while Essien has also raved about Thomas’ qualities in various interviews, adding that he would have loved to play alongside Thomas.
3. He’s one of the most versatile players in European football
Some fans might not know just how versatile a player Partey is. His natural position is in defensive midfield, but he has also been used on a number of occasions as an attacking midfielder, as a winger, as a centre-back, as a full-back, and even as a striker. When playing for Ghana, he tends to play in a more attacking role and even scored a hat-trick for his country in a World Cup qualifier against Congo.
4. His nickname as a kid was ‘Senegal’
He may be from Ghana, but Thomas’s nickname growing up was “Senegal.” When playing for his father’s team in Odumase Krobo (in eastern Ghana), he was given the nickname because his style of play reminded his father of a friend whose name was Senegal.
5. He co-owns a football club
As a star for one Madrid club, he co-owns another. Partey, along with several partners, acquired Alcobendas Sport, a team in the city’s northern suburbs currently playing in the fourth tier, in 2019.
The side has become a home for several players making their own journey from African to Spanish football, with these up-and-coming talents able to benefit from Thomas’ expertise.
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